Could A La Cart Go A La Boite?


Made from a refurbished maritime shipping container, the Müvbox is equipped with a fully functional kitchen and open-air dining area. When closed it looks like a shipping container sporting a hot paint job, but with the push of a button it transforms to a local lobster eatery in a mere 90 seconds.

Given the City of Toronto just launched their anticipated A La Cart program a few weeks ago, could we even fathom pushing our street food potential any further by going A La Boite?

Müvbox is the brainchild of Montréal restaurateur Daniel Noiseux with design and architectural work done by Québec firms Sid Lee and Ædifica. So far, reports from Montréal bloggers and tweeters have been great.

The concept of repurposing shipping containers is not new, with architects using them for both residential and commercial projects such as the Container City project in London or the Puma City traveling retail store to name just a couple.

But when it comes to pop-up street food, Müvbox is a first and unique to Montréal on the Canadian street food scene. So why can't Toronto get in on the action? We have a whole program dedicated to expanding our fine city's street food potential. Would Müvbox not blow that potential wide open?

Like the carts, the boxes are transportable (as all good shipping containers should be). So that means in the long term, they do not need to be tied to one area of the city. They are solar powered - the current model generates enough energy from the panels mounted on top to meet 30-40% of its energy needs. In addition, the floors are made from recycled tires and the creators plan to add more environmentally friendly features in the future. The boxes also provide a totally unique dining experience, with a "terrace" that comes equipped with an awning, tables, chairs, and standing room with tall tables too. And with fully equipped kitchens including wood-burning ovens, they provide endless culinary possibilities.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that the mountains of red tape and the city's micromanagement of the A La Cart program might make the idea of expanding into Müvbox territory laughable, but there is definite potential here.

And to be fair with regards to regulation, I am not sure whether a Müvbox would qualify as a street food vendor or a full out restaurant. But if they did qualify as full out restos, all the better! It would give entrepreneurs in the city the opportunity to expand our street food options without the hassle of the A La Cart program requirements.

As food lover, I think it would be great to see the Müvboxes come to Toronto. It might just take a little moving and shaking, so to speak, to get them here.

More info and a video on Epicurean Life, a food blog from Tourism Montreal

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